Should Christians Call God Allah?

 Christian KAABA

In  today’s discussion Fortress of Faith Radio by Tom Wallace and Shahram Hadian discuss the approval of Christian missionary and other groups to using “Allah” as a permitted name for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob so they can “better relate” to .

Listen to the program HERE (mp3 download link) and below are the “show notes” from this program.

Today we are going to discus, Should Christians use the name Allah when referring to God? Some of you may think we are only discussing semantics or splitting hairs. The reason we want to talk about this is that some missionaries who deal with Muslims say that Allah is just a generic word that means god.

There are several reasons that we oppose using God and Allah interchangeably. The first is what it means to Muslims. One of the basic tenants of Islam is the Allah has no son. The God of the Bible, Jehovah, Elohim, has a begotten Son and His name is Jesus Christ.

Those who want to use Allah and God interchangeably are well meaning. They don’t intend to insult or defame God in any way. They believe that it helps in reaching Muslims. How we handle God’s name is very important.

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Exodus 20:7

God is a holy and righteous God. We don’t have the right to play with His name in this way just because we think it is expedient.

For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: Exodus 34:14

God is jealous for His name. Those who fall for this corruption of God’s name and His word are trying to figure out, with man’s understanding, how to reach Muslims.

We are not against Muslims. We want to see Muslims reached for Christ. We want to have God’s heart for Muslims. We want to see God rescue them from the darkness and oppression of Islam, just as He rescued Shahram. Our efforts to reach Muslims has to be done according to God’s precepts. When God gave  us the Gospel, He did not forget Muslims. The Gospel is for all mankind.

When Shahram was given the Gospel it was hard for him to hear the truth. It cut into his heart. He told the person who shared the Gospel with him that she offended him. He says that he now understands that it was not really that he was offended, it was that the Holy Spirit was piercing his heart. The Gospel offends, and we must not let that stop us from telling the truth. The Scriptures say that it is the truth that sets one free.

This is becoming more and more relevant. Just recently someone told me they received a newsletter from the Voice of the Martyrs. This ministry has done a tremendous job of presenting the case of persecuted Christians around the world. I don’t want to besmirch all of their efforts, but they put out a prayer book “30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World” that is problematic. On day 19 in the book it said that the word “Allah” is, in fact, of Christian origin.

This person wrote Voice of the Martyrs and received a response which gave a link to their persecution blog. We will be looking at this article by their VP Cole Richards later. Before we do I want to say that this issue is predominately an Arab issue. For example, in Farsi, the language of Iran, we have no problem explaining to them how to refer to God because Farsi has a generic term, khodah, for god. Muslim converts in Iran are told that khodah refers to Jesus Christ, who is the true God.

The argument that is being made by those who want to equate “Allah” with “God” is that “Allah” is generic. They say that it just means “god” and there should be no problem because Arab Christians use it, and, therefore, Muslims who become Christians should have no problem using “Allah” to refer to the God of the Bible. I want to look at why this is not true, and why there is a problem using “Allah” and “God” interchangeably.

Those who were Muslims and have become Christians are the most bothered when they hear missionaries using “Allah” for “God.” When they were Muslims, they understood that Allah was the moon god worshiped by Muhammad and not the God of the Bible. Allah, as I said before, is a god that has no son. The usage of “Allah” for “Got” removes the deity of Jesus Christ in the minds of Muslims.

Muslims who have become Christians came out of a system of belief that believes Jesus is not the Son of God because Allah has no son. This removes the whole Christian concept of God as a Triune God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

I think that it is strange the the missionaries, who never were Muslims, know better than the ex-Muslims who have become Christians. Those who were Muslims should know better than those who never were Muslims on a subject like this. To an ex-Muslim, hearing Allah used for the God of the Bible is like running your fingernails down a chalkboard, it really grates on them.

Missionaries tell us that Arab Christians have no trouble distinguishing between the “little allah” and the “great Allah.” The “little allah” is the generic and the “great Allah” is the god of Islam. How do you do that in your prayers?

Modern Bible translators are using Allah for God. This is a dangerous thing as you will see. We need to respect the name of God and keep it pure. We don’t need to confuse those we are trying to reach for Christ.

Listen to the program HERE (mp3 download link) and below are the “show notes” from this program.

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The Roots of Allah In Islam

Before Muhammad starting proclaiming Allah as the god of Islam, what did it mean to the Arabs? This really is the most important principle we need to understand.

Those who equate Allah with God point out that there were Arab Christians before Muhammad. While this is true, it does not justify using the names interchangeably.

This is an Arabic problem because only 15% of the Muslims in the world are Arabs. The other Muslims have a generic term for god in their languages which can be used for the God of the Bible. The issue is with Allah because Allah was not generic.

In Arabic, Allah does not simply mean “god” or “a god,” it means “the god.” It comes from “al” and “ihah.” The question is, the god of what? He was the god of the Kaaba, the black building that Muslims worship today in Mecca. The Kaaba predates Islam and was called the house of Allah. The pre-Islamic Allah had a house which held 360 idols. Even Islamic doctrine supports this fact.

Islam says that Muhammad destroyed all of these idols. We know that this is not true. Muhammad’s tribe was charged with the maintenance of the Kaaba. They had a god for every day of the year, the Islamic calendars had 360 days. Each tribe had a god, and the god of Muhammad’s tribe was Hubal or Hu Bal. You may recognize that last part as the Baal of the Bible. Hubal had a specific identity, he was the moon god. Allah was “the god” overseeing all of these idols, or lesser gods.

If Arabic Christians were worshiping the true God, and calling Him Allah, before Muhammad, how can we differentiate between this Allah and the Allah of the Kaaba? Were they worshiping the chief god over all of the other gods?

Muhammad’s father’s name was Abdullah, which means a slave of Allah. Why would his name be tied to Allah if his name was just a generic god?

My point is that prior to Muhammad and Islam, Allah was worshiped as the chief god of the Kaaba. When Muhammad came, he destroyed the idols of the Kaaba, but conveniently kept the image of the god of his tribe, Hubal, and claims that Allah is the one true god. He told them to stop worshiping the 360 idols, and to worship the only idol left, Allah.

Islam’s Symbol

Muhammad also established the symbolism of Islam. What is the symbol of Islam? It is the crescent moon and the star. It is on every flag of every Muslim country, with the exception of Iran.

This is Shahram’s study, and I don’t expect you to take his word for it. Study it out for yourself, but Isaiah 14 says:

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! Isaiah 14:12

The Hebrew word translated O Lucifer, comes from the Hebrew word “hêylêl,” which comes from the same root as halal, which means to shine. In the Arabic and Syrian languages it means to shine as the moon. I believe this passage is talking about the shining of the new moon and the morning star. Do you see where Islam gets it symbol?

Isn’t it just like Satan to try to usurp that which is Christ’s? Jesus is called the morning star.

I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. Revelation 22:16

It seems to me that the symbolism of Islam fits the symbolism of the fall of Satan.

It is also interesting that within Islam’s revelation we have what are called “the satanic verses.” In these verses Muhammad references three deities in an effort to satisfy the polytheists. These deities were al-Lat and al-Uzza And Mana. Al-Lat is the mother of Hubal, the moon god. The other two are known as the daughters of Allah. This caused he followers, who had become monotheist, to question him. He told them that the Devil tricked him and gave him this revelation.

Pre-Islamic Arabs worshiped the stars and the moon. We see in the Bible that these were the gods of the pagans. To associate the name of a pagan god with Jehovah God is not only offensive, it is very dangerous.

Listen to the program HERE (mp3 download link) and below are the “show notes” from this program.

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Segment Three

The Kaaba is covered with black fabric, and on one comer there are two massive doors. On the corner by the doors there is a black rock. It is encased in a metal object which looks like a woman’s private parts. This is because the Kaaba is known as the womb of the world. They believe that Adam descended on this rock and that this is the birthplace of humanity. To complete the imagery, the inside of the Kaaba is covered with red silk.

Islam also teaches that this black rock is where Abraham was going to sacrifice Ishmael in Mecca. This completely contradicts the story in the Bible. First, it was not Ishmael that was sacrificed, it was Isaac. Secondly, it was not Mecca, it was on Mt. Moria.

This black rock predates Muhammad. It was worshiped by the pagans long before Muhammad came on the scene.

Paul talked about a rock that pagans believed had fallen from heaven. This rock shows up in Mecca in the forth or fifth century. We know that it was being worshiped long before Muhammad’s time.

Everything pre-Muhammad that was associated with Allah was pagan and part of the worship of Baal. It was everything the Bible tells us not to do. These were the things that Israel got in trouble for doing. How can this deity all of the sudden become the same god as the God of the Bible?

The Importance Of The Issue

This becomes very important when we consider the issue of Chrislam, which we have covered many times. Chrislam is the merging of Christianity with Islam and using Allah and God interchangeably plays into this because it confuses the false god of Islam with the true God.

Many try to tell us that the two are the same God. This is not true. The god of the Qur’an is the capricious one. He not only changes his mind, he changes his nature. He is the unknowable one. He does not have a son. He hates sinners. These things are contrary to the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His message is always the same, He is loving toward sinners. He loved them enough to send His Son do die for their sins. The God of the Bible is a triune being, He is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, yet He is one.

In the article from the Voice of the Martyrs I referenced above, Cole Richards clearly states that he does not believe that the god of Islam and the God of the Bible are the same. In spite of this he says that it is alright to use Allah for the God of the Bible. This opens the door to finding common ground between Islam and Christianity.

We need to be clear about who God is. Paul was a great missionary to pagans. He was the missionary to the gentiles. The Book of Acts tells us of Paul encountering those who did not know who God was. In Acts 17 we see how he dealt with those who did not know who the God of the Bible is.

Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. So Paul departed from among them. Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them. Acts 17:22-34

In this passage he tells them who this unknown God is. He corrected their false conceptions and pointed them the the true God, the Lord Jesus Christ. In Islam, Muhammad did the same thing. As a result we have the revelation of the demonic god, Allah. This is the demonic god of ISIS and the other Muslim terrorist groups.

Do you see the similarity of what happened? Paul took the people from an unknown god to the God of the Bible. Muhammad took the people from a god that he said they didn’t understand, and presented the god of Islam, a god of hate, murder, and terror.

Now that Allah has been revealed by Muhammad, those who want to use Allah and God interchangeably, want us pretend that Allah is an unknown god who simply needs to be revealed to the Muslims. This argument does not fly. Once the unknown god of Allah has been revealed for who he is today, there is no going back to an unknown Allah.

Do we believe that God is sovereign? God, through Islam, has revealed to the world who Allah is. This is the ultimate reason we cannot use Allah and God interchangeably.

I understand why missionaries want to do this. We must, however, hold the name of God in high regard. We need to be clear about the God we want them to turn to, and the god from whom we want them to turn. How confusing is it to tell them to turn from the god Allah, the the God Allah? This is a confused message and should be avoided.

 

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Segment Four

We covered a lot of information on this subject in our message on Muslim Friendly Bibles. It is a four part series on our blog. We had George Housney as a guest on that program. His website is a wealth of information on the subject of Muslim friendly Bibles.

What is the alternative?

We need to teach Christians, no matter what background they have, the meanings of the Hebrew names for God. They have beautiful meanings that will help us understand our God.

In Arabic there is the word Raab, which can also be spelled Rabb. This word means lord. It applies to any deity. Muslims use this word when they want to talk about Allah in a reverent manner. I have listened to Coptic Christians in Egypt praying in Arabic. They pray to God as Raab, not as Allah. Is this not how we reference our Lord?

There is another term term which means “the almighty” which is used by some. This is a term that can only be applied to the true God of the universe.

The issue is one of confusion. When we use a term that is defined in the Muslim mind as the god of Islam to refer to the God of the Bible we only confuse those to whom we speak.

Muhammad has actually done us a favor. He has shown us who the pagan Allah, which was used before his time, really is. How can any thinking Christian equate the god of Islam with the God of the Bible?

Those who say that using Allah is fine, those who say that Christians were using it before Muhammad and let’s reclaim it, are on dangerous ground. It has now crept into Bible translations. Some translators are taking terms like “our Father” and replacing them with Allah.

In doing things like, this we are proving Muslims correct in their statements of Christians corrupting the Bible. When we use their terminology we are saying that they were right all along. How dare we touch God’s Word and God’s name. We have no authority to do so.

Even if Muslims convert to Christianity, they will be confused. It will be difficult for them to really understand the true God because of the baggage they bring with them from Islam.

We want to see Muslims saved. We want to see God honored and glorified. We want truth, not only to be spoken, we want it to be understood. This is why it is so important to bring clarity to this issue.

The goals of Fortress of Faith are three fold. We want to expose Islam for what it is. We want to rescue Muslims from the dark and evil religion of Islam. And we want to see revival in our nation.

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